Starting a website for your business or refreshing one you already have can be a daunting process of knowing where to start. Website design is so much more than just graphics. Graphics play a part, for sure, but there are many other factors to consider when creating your website experience. Here are some top level tips that you can use to get going. Remember to always look through the eyes of your customer, and make decisions based on what your customer needs.
1. Know your market
Find out who else is offering the same product or service in your area. Is anyone doing it better than you online, if so, what can you learn? Decide how you fit into the market and how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors eg. do you specialise in something, do you offer fantastic customer service, are you in a great location? Highlight this differentiator on your site so you stand out from the crowd.
2. Focus on three customers
Identity your top 3 users and make a list of what each user needs from your website. For example, your customer may need to find out the price of a product; your opening hours; or how to contact you. Make sure that everything you've identified on your list of customer needs is available on your website. Focus your site around these 3 customers and no-one else.
3. Structure your content well
Take your list of customer needs and lay them out on the page, putting the most important items at the top. Sketch out the key pages of the site before you build them. Tip: sketch this out on paper first, keep away from the computer as you will be tempted to start playing with the colours!
4. Plan your journey
Think about key online journeys that your customers make on your site. For example, the journey to buy your product; any communication with your customers after a purchase; or the route taken to make contact with you. Make sure all routes have a destination and no one is left in a dead-end. Remember that the journey may not start or end on your website so consider the whole path.
5. Create a call for action
Ensure there is at least one ‘call to action’ on every page. These could include a contact button; a buy button; download a report; ‘see more’ etc. This ensures the user is engaged and has the opportunity to connect with your business.
These tips are a good starting point for your business, you will also need to consider the 'user experience' of your site too. And once you are happy with your site, you will need people to find you, this is where SEO comes in, or 'Search Engine Optimisation.'
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